Monday, October 29, 2007

Healthcare racism: Scrubbing Sutter white

On October 19, Sutter Health/California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) announced it would shut down in-patient care at St. Luke's Hospital in the Mission district of San Francisco. At a city Supervisor's hearing last Thursday, the profitable hospital corporation was the object of withering criticism from doctors, community members and elected officials.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano delivered a [sharp] rebuke, accusing hospital officials of dispensing snake oil and failing to provide adequate charity care to the poor and uninsured.

The California Nurses Association, which represents nurses at St. Luke's, has unearthed statistics from the Office of Statewide Health
Planning and Development
showing that the effect of closing St. Luke's would be, quite simply, getting CPMC out of the business of caring for Black and Brown people.

  • 40 percent of in-patient hospital discharges at St. Luke's are Hispanic patients - compared to just 1 percent of CPMC discharges.
  • 54 percent of emergency room visits at St. Luke's are Hispanic or African-American patients - compared to just 8 percent of ER visits at CPMC.
Not too surprisingly, the data CNA presents also show that, in comparison to CPMC's facilities in the north and west of the city, St. Luke's patients are far more likely to be on Medi-Cal than private insurance plans and far more likely to live in the Mission and adjoining Bayview districts.

Sutter/CPMC is trying to dump its money-losing poor Black and Brown patients. How much longer will we tolerate profiteering in "healthcare"?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bias in healthcare of poor African American women runs rampant in California. Physicians who care for them become targets of the State healthcare agencies. For a good description of what's happening to physicians caring for minority women in California see:

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